Frequency and Types of Foods Advertised on Saturday Morning and Weekday Afternoon English- and Spanish-Language American Television Programs

Robert A Bell, Diana L Cassady, Jennifer Culp, Rina Alcalay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe food advertised on networks serving children and youth, and to compare ads on English-language networks with ads on Spanish networks. Design: Analysis of television food advertisements appearing on Saturday morning and weekday afternoons in 2005-2006. A random sample of 1,130 advertisements appearing on 12 networks catering to Spanish-language, children, youth, Black youth, and general audiences were analyzed. Main Outcome Measures: Each advertisement was coded for the nature of the item promoted, the selling propositions used, and any nutritional claims made. Analysis: Cross-tabulations using Fisher's exact test (P < .05 criterion). Results: One-fifth of commercials were for food. Food ads were especially prevalent on Saturday programs and children's networks. Seventy percent of food ads were for items high in sugar or fat. More than one fourth of food advertisements were for fast-food restaurants, which were especially common on MTV and Spanish-language networks. Ads for fruits and vegetables were rare (1.7%). One nutrition-related public service announcement was found for every 63 food ads. Conclusions and Implications: Food advertisements continue to promote less-healthful items. Until marketing of high calorie, low-nutrient food to children is restricted, education and media literacy remain the best strategies for mitigating advertising effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-413
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009



  • advertising
  • beverage
  • children
  • food
  • television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this